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Mistakes happen and in some cases these mistakes can have lasting consequences. If you are facing Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle (“Open Container”) charges, it is extremely important to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer that can provide you with options and help you mitigate the damage already done.
Under Texas law, a person commits an offense of Open Container if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked.
The unfavorable outcome of a Open Container case can affect your ability to gain acceptance into college, graduate school or the military, secure employment or even apply for student loans. Make sure that you understand the options available to you and your family before making a decision that can impact your life for years to come.
At Joyner + Joyner, P.C., our Open Container defense lawyers have the experience to guide you through the Texas justice system. We have helped many families through these tough times by answering their questions and making sure that our clients understand what is happening at every stage the case. We will advocate on your behalf and work to obtain the best possible outcome.
Under section 49.031 “Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle” means:
(1) “Open container” means a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.
(2) “Passenger area of a motor vehicle” means the area of a motor vehicle designed for the seating of the operator and passengers of the vehicle. The term does not include:
(A) a glove compartment or similar storage container that is locked;
(B) the trunk of a vehicle; or
(C) the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle, if the vehicle does not have a trunk.
(3) “Public highway” means the entire width between and immediately adjacent to the boundary lines of any public road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained way if any part is open for public use for the purpose of motor vehicle travel. The term includes the right-of-way of a public highway.
(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode is a single offense.
(c) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that at the time of the offense the defendant was a passenger in:
(1) the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxicab, or limousine; or
(2) the living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(e) A peace officer charging a person with an offense under this section, instead of taking the person before a magistrate, shall issue to the person a written citation and notice to appear that contains the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate, the name and address of the person charged, and the offense charged. If the person makes a written promise to appear before the magistrate by signing in duplicate the citation and notice to appear issued by the officer, the officer shall release the person.
Our attorneys have successfully represented clients with the following alcohol-related cases: